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Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

As a pediatrician, married mom of three biological children and one foster son, my life was busy, rushing off to my office four days a week, seeing patients for three and working as a medical director of a local physician organization for one. I balanced this with rushing off to shuttle my kids to after sports and other after school activities. All of this changed one day in August of 2018 when my 14 year old son, Andy, was killed in a car accident. I felt like my life was over, and in some ways it was over, and a new life was forced to begin in its place. 

Grief is seldom discussed openly in our culture, and the death of a child makes people feel even more uncomfortable. On this blog and podcast, ‘Losing a Child: Always Andy’s Mom’, the topic is approached openly and honestly, speaking to people who have lost loved ones and experts who help care for them. Whether you are a parent experiencing loss or someone who wants to support another going through this tragedy, this blog and podcast strives to offer hope and help.

Sep 27, 2019

Today's episode is the first of several where Gwen and I discuss specific topics related to grief. We decided to start at the beginning, those horrible first few days after the death of a child or another loved one. Originally, I planned for this to be Episode 7 of Always Andy's Mom. As I began to listen to it again, I knew that it could not wait. This is such an important topic, and so many people can benefit from hearing Gwen's insights. 

Experiencing the death of a close loved one and having to go on living without that person is unbelievably difficult. This is true if that person is one's child, spouse, sibling, parent or another loved one. The physical and emotional toll related to that grief is difficult to comprehend. Even menial tasks seem too almost impossible to attempt. Getting out of bed can be a major accomplishment.

We discuss that fact that one's life is never the same after 'that' day. For me 'that' day was August 15, 2018, my worst day ever. Each and every day is 'that' day for someone new. Perhaps it is someone we know, but chances are, it is someone whom we do not yet know. I had not thought about it before, but for so many in this country, 'that' day was September 11, 2001.

Living through this past year and this experience of having to survive without my son gave me a completely new perspective. Before August 2018, I thought of the impact of 9/11 on a large scale, but now, it is so much more intimate. I think now about the fact that each of those precious individuals who died had families, and for each family member, that was their worst day ever. Helping people survive those worst days is what we need to do for each other.


Connecting with others who are grieving can be so valuable. Finding a local support group is a great first step. A grieving parent can also speak openly with a close friend, pastor or therapist. If that is too difficult, finding support online through a group or individuals can be helpful. 

Gwen gives some ideas for ways that people can resources in their own communities. Please see below.

National Alliance of Grieving Children -

Local Hospice - Look under Bereavement

Ask at local Funeral Homes


Also, if you haven't already done so, be sure to listen to